Coconut is used for oil, milk, water and tasty meat. They’re fruits of coconut palms and are grown in tropical regions.
They’ve recently gained popularity for their health benefits, culinary uses and flavor.
Here are 19 health benefits of coconut.
#1. Extremely Nutritious
Coconuts are rich in fat and are packed with important minerals, protein and a small number of B vitamins.
They’re an excellent source of manganese that’s important for bone health and the metabolism of cholesterol, proteins and carbohydrates.
Since they contain a high amount of iron and copper, it aids in the formation of red blood cells and selenium that helps protect cells.
MCTs (Medium-chain triglycerides) present in coconut help lose excess body fat.
#2. Benefits Heart Health
Studies indicate that individuals who consume coconut meat have lower rates of heart disease.
Individuals who consume virgin coconut oil have reduced belly fat. Not only does this help you stay fit but also reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
A study conducted in Tokelau obtained more than 60% of their calories from coconuts and had good overall health and a low rate of heart diseases.
Kitara people also include a lot of coconut in their diet along with fish, fruit and tubers and have fewer heart diseases or strokes.
#3. Promotes Blood Sugar Control
Coconut contains high amounts of fiber, healthy fats and amino acids and low carbs which helps stabilize blood sugar.
It also helps improve insulin resistance and slow digestion which helps regulate blood sugar levels.
#4. Packed with Antioxidants
Coconut contains phenolic compounds such as p-coumaric acid, salicylic acid, caffeic acid and gallic acid. These antioxidants protect cells from oxidative damage.
This helps prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol that forms plaques in arteries and increase the risk of heart disease.
Shaved or flaked, coconut adds a delectable flavor to most dishes.
Its flavor and meaty texture work well in breaded shrimp, rice, fish stews and curries.
Shredded coconut can be used for baking as it adds a touch of moisture and natural sweetness to bread, muffins and cookies.
Drizzle some raw coconut on your oatmeal to enjoy a tropical flavor. Stir it into yoghurt or pudding to gain weight.
Coconut flour can also be used as a substitute for wheat flour. Nut-free, gluten-free and tasty, it’s great for those who count carbs.
Since it’s grain-free, it can be used by those who follow a paleo diet.
Moreover, coconut oil is a great heat-stable fat that’s used to roast, sauté and bake foods.
Here are a few easy, budget-friendly recipes that’ll help you include coconut in your daily diet:
- Coconut milk and strawberry smoothie
- Coconut and banana smoothie
- Toasted coconut porridge
- Coconut oatmeal
- Coconut flour pancakes
- Coconut and pineapple smoothie
- Cranberry coconut yummies
- Coconut macaroons
- Thai curry
- Cauliflower and coconut curry soup
- Chicken stew with coconut milk
- Chicken biryani with coconut milk
- Khao soi
- Coconut curry chicken soup
- Tomato, chickpeas, ginger and coconut salad
- Coconut and mango chicken soup
- Jasmine rice with cherries and coconut
- Curried coconut chicken
- Coconut rice and shrimp
- Coconut lentils with rice
- Thai coconut with beef
- Coconut cream sauce with Jamaican salmon
- Coconut crusted turkey strips
- Butternut and coconut curry
- Spicy Quinoa with coconut shrimp
- Lime, chicken, coconut curry soup
- Coconut-pecan Crusted Tilapia
- Vegetable and coconut curry soup
These recipes will ensure that your body gets the nutrients it deserves.
The best thing about these recipes is that most of them can be cooked in a jiffy, are cost-effective and require very little supervision.
You can also prepare these recipes in batches and store them for future consumption!
#6. Reduces Hunger
An interesting feature of MCT is that it helps reduce hunger.
This generally depends on the way a person’s body metabolizes fats but ketones help reduce a person’s appetite.
This may lead to reduced body weight when coconut is consumed for a longer period of time.
#7. Reduces Seizures
Another surprising benefit of coconut is that it helps reduce seizures in children who have epilepsy.
Coconut oil helps increase the blood concentration of ketone bodies that help treat epilepsy.
Researchers are studying the keto diet which is high in fat but low in carbs to treat different disorders.
This diet has worked well for children suffering from seizures and has not had any luck with other drugs so far.
One of the reasons for this could be the ketones present in coconut oil.
#8. Protects Teeth, Hair and Skin
Coconut oil is used for cosmetic purposes as it helps improve the appearance and health of hair and skin,
Studies indicate that coconut oil improves the moisture content of dry skin and reduces eczema.
Coconut oil is also known to protect against hair damage by working as a sunscreen that can block 20% of the sun’s UV rays.
Its antibacterial and antifungal properties help protect the scalp from dandruff, lice and itchiness that are primary causes of reduced hair growth.
Coconut oil can also be used s a mouthwash, it helps kill harmful bacteria, reducing bad breath and improving overall dental health.
#9. Improves Endurance
Coconut meat is paced with Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs).
It’s a type of saturated fats that is easier to digest and have been proven to boost the endurance of trained athletes.
#10. Keeps you Hydrated
It’s the highest source of electrolytes, which means your body stays hydrated for a longer period of time.
Additionally, it helps keep your muscles and nerves function properly.
#11. Fights Bacteria
Lauric acid is present in coconut which when consumed forms monolaurin.
It helps fight against bacteria, viruses and fungi and help keep infections at bay.
Coconut oil helps kill bacteria that cause yeast infections and staph infections in humans.
#12. Prevents Urinary Tract Infections
The natural diuretic properties of coconut help treat urinary tract infections by improving the flow of urine to keep the infection at bay.
#13. Raises Good Cholesterol (HDL)
Natural saturated fats present in coconut oil help increase good cholesterol in your body and help turn bad cholesterol into less harmful forms.
Increasing HDL is a great way to improve heart health.
A study conducted on 40 women, indicated that the consumption of coconut oil helped them decrease bad cholesterol and increase HDL (as compared to soybean oil).
#14. Beneficial for Pregnant Women
Coconut water is sterile and therefore must be consumed by pregnant women.
It helps improve the health and immunity of both the mother and the baby.
I also increase the levels of amniotic fluid that is responsible for the overall health of the fetus.
#15. Prevents Skin Cancer
Since coconut improves the lipid content and moisture in the skin, it may prevent skin cancer.
It can be used as a moisturizer as it keeps the skin hydrated by replenishing natural oils.
It also makes for a great facial cleanser and helps keep the skin looking clean and youthful.
#16. Packed with Healthy Fatty Acids
Coconut oil is rich in saturated fats that have different types of effects on our body.
Fatty acids present in coconut oil enable our body to burn fat and help provide energy to our brain and body.
Additionally, consuming coconut oil is an excellent way to increase good cholesterol (HDL) in your body which helps reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Dietary fats generally contain long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) but coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
When you consume MCTs, they go straight to your liver and your body either turns them into ketones or uses them as a source of energy.
Ketones have a range of health benefits for your brain. Researchers are studying them as treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy and other diseases.
#17. Promotes Fat Burning
Obesity is a deadly health condition that the Western world is constantly battling against.
Most people believe it’s a cause of how many calories you consume when in fact, it’s the mix of the number of calories you consume as well as the source of these calories.
MCTs present in coconut oil encourage fat burning as compared to longer-chain fatty acids.
A study found that eating 15-30 grams of MCTs each day increases the 24-hour energy expenditure by 5%.
However, you must note that coconut oil itself contains a large among of calories and should be consumed in moderation.
#18. Boost Brain Function
One of the most common causes of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease that generally affects older adults.
The brain’s ability to use glucose for energy significantly reduces enabling memory loss in people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Research has suggested that ketones present in coconut oil provide an alternative source of energy for malfunctioning brain cells helping reduce the system of Alzheimer’s disease.
A study conducted in 2006 found improved brain functions in individuals suffering from milder forms of Alzheimer’s disease.
#19. It’s Versatile
You might have heard of consuming coconut raw, as an oil or even drank coconut water. But did you know you can also eat coconut meat and coconut sugar?
Here are all forms of coconut that you can consume it in:
It’s the soft, white flesh present inside the coconut and has the following health benefits:
- Boosts heart health
- Supports weight loss
- Aids digestive health
- Stabilizes blood sugar
- Improves immunity
- Benefits brain health
Coconut meat can be included in your diet by:
- Stirring chunks of the meat in cooked grains, stews and stir-fries
- Drying it and adding it to homemade trail mix
- Combining it with breadcrumbs to coat tofu, poultry, fish or meat before baking
- Blending it into sauces, dips and smoothies
- Shredding it to add to oatmeal, yoghurt, mixed greens and fruit salads.
- It’s derived from a coconut palm tree and has gained popularity as it’s more nutritious than regular sugar.
- It’s commonly known as coconut palm sugar and has the following health benefits:
- Has a lower glycemic index
- Is loaded with fructose
- Coconut water has now become a trendy beverage. It’s refreshing and tasty and has the following health benefits:
- Good source of nutrients
- Has antioxidant properties
- Benefits against diabetes
- Prevents kidney stones
- Supports heart health
- Reduces blood pressure
- Replenishes electrolytes and fluids
- Great source of hydration
Coconut milk makes for a great alternative to cow’s milk and has the following health benefits:
- Boosts weight loss
- Promotes heart health
- Fights bacteria and viruses
- Decreases the size of stomach ulcers
- Reduces inflammation
You can include it in your diet by:
- Adding 30 to 60 ml to your coffee
- Add 30 to 60 ml in cooked cereal or oatmeal
- Pour some over sliced papaya or berries
- Add 120 ml to your protein shake or smoothie
Coconut oil is used for cooking and to improve hair and skin. Here are a few benefits of applying it to your skin:
- Kills harmful microorganisms
- Reduces inflammation
- Treats acne
- Moisturizes dry skin
- Helps heals wounds
Coconut is a versatile fruit with several health benefits.
- Some of these include reducing heart disease, promoting blood sugar regulation, preventing skin cancer and reducing belly fat amongst others.
- Whether you eat it dried, raw or as meat or flour, coconut is delicious and can easily be incorporated into savory dishes and your skincare regime.
- How do you use coconut (like oil, meat, milk or water) and why? Tell us in the comments section down below!